Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Brunch for the Girls

A brunch with dear friends is one of my very favorite things!

And food!
This chai tea latte is one of my favorite winter drinks...delicious & soothing! 

There were marshmallows, dipped in white chocolate and crushed candy canes.
We forgot all about them until we were done drinking our lattes!! ha

I found some beautiful table napkins & rings that I'd received as a Christmas present two years ago, and still hadn't used! It was about time, don't you think?

There were candles. You can never burn too many, can you? The ambiance is wonderful.

And the food. Oh, my!
This lovely cinnamon roll wreath was made by my sister-in-law, Bridgette.
It didn't disappoint, let me tell you!

Amelia made these delicious spinach/egg good!!

Did I mention that there was also sausage gravy with biscuits, stuffed french toast casserole
 and fresh fruit? And the girls made most of that! Yup, I have the best friends.

But those things pale in comparison to the memories we made,
the laughter we shared
and the heart-to-heart chats we had.
I am so bummed that I didn't get a picture of the girls.
They truly are a gift to me!
Thank you each for the role you play in my life.
You make Christmas an even more beautiful thing!


And one last thought:
A friend & I were chatting about Christmas, and all that we love most about it,
and he made a statement that rocked my world.
"The thing I am most excited about this Christmas
is hearing from God!"
I love that.
And it's my prayer, that I would be still and truly listen to the One Who sent His Son
to be my Saviour.
That is a cause for celebration!
Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday House Tour 2012

Since I so much enjoy seeing all the lovely homes in blogland with their festive Christmas decor, I thought I would give you a virtual tour in my house! Every year, the decorations extend into more rooms. It's a process that goes on for weeks around here! And what fun I have...

I make my best effort to use what I already have, and simply add some greenery and pinecones. It's amazing how far that goes! 

I did splurge and bought a mini tabletop tree! Isn't it cute?

We have an over-abundance of citrus fruits around here right now, so I thought it would make a cheery centerpiece, with some holly and evergreen to give it that Christmasy feel!

I tried my hand at some chalkboard art. Somehow, my letters never end up straight...

I went with a glass/metallic theme for the mantle, and was so excited to find this reindeer at TJ Maxx! Doesn't he add the perfect finishing touch? I think so.

And there you have it: Christmas at my house! Thanks for "stopping" by!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

DIY Polymer Clay Gift Tags

Are we already less than 2 weeks away from Christmas?! Craziness. It always manages to catch me off-guard; there are so many fun things to do and experience that I end up finishing up my Christmas shopping the week before Christmas! I know, some of you manage time much better than I do! :)
It may have something to do with the fact that I get easily distracted; you know, Pinterest projects and such? Speaking of which, I want to share my latest one with you!

I've seen these clay tags all over, in blogs and on Pinterest, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy they actually were to make! You need the polymer clay, which I found at Michael's in a block. I just pulled chunks off of it, and worked it with my fingers until it was pliable and ready to roll.

This is a fun job for little people! Granted, she didn't do alot of rolling but she had fun trying!! :) My goal was to make them about 1/4" thick.

Using a cookie cutter, make your circles. Then I punched a hole in the top with a straw, which worked very well. To add a finishing touch, I took a distressed board and pressed it into the clay to give it a wood grain look. It was a bit clumsy, but it did the trick! I baked them on a cookie sheet at 325 for about 30 min, about 15 minutes longer than the directions said to do them. Just keep an eye on them and make sure they are done before you pull them out.

I now have lots of clay tags to put on all my gifts!!! Ahhh, happy sigh. I love them!

Now I'd better finish that Christmas shopping! :: Happy weekend my friends ::

Friday, December 7, 2012

Vintage Sheet Music Trees

With the vast number of DIY Christmas possibilities on Pinterest,
deciding which project to tackle wasn't the easiest thing in the world.
{I know, I have a difficult life.}
Christmas trees hold a special place in my heart,
and I love all variations as decor.
Add to that the fact that I had lots of vintage sheet music on hand,
and I was sold!
Shall we get started?
Here's the supply list:
:: foam cones, in varying sizes
:: vintage sheet music
:: scissors
:: hot glue gun
:: paper cutter, if you have one
1. Cut 1.5" wide strips from your sheet music.
2. For the length of the strip, make cuts that are about 1" long, spacing them approximately 1/4" apart.
3. After all the cuts are made, roll the strip of paper into a cylinder. My paper was truly vintage and a little brittle, so this step wasn't easy! But it is important to get the paper to curl. After that is done, gently unwrap the strip and run a line of glue on the base of the cone.
4. Glue the strip around the perimeter of the tree and gently separate the fringes.
Continue gluing the strips of paper to the tree, moving towards the top. There shouldn't be much of a space between the strips of paper, unless of course, you want to see the white of the cone peeking through! {Ask me how I know}
Note: This project is a great one to do while the baby is napping and you can watch your favorite show on TV! :)
Now my next "big" decision is where to display these baby trees!
What's your latest Christmas project? I'd love to hear about it!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Week 3: DIY Placemats & Napkin Holders

What sights, sounds & memories does that word evoke in you?
For me, it's the whole package.
It's a time of spiritual reflection and worship, 
as I consider all the bounty God has blessed me with.
It's a relational experience,
as family & friends gather to share food and memories of the past.
And it's definitely a physical experience:
the smells, the taste & the eye candy!

As I prepared the decorations,
I wanted them to reflect all of those things:
Faith + Family + Food.
How much better can it get??!!

Pinterest was my source of inspiration, as usual! :)
I found the idea for these placemats, and although they took a bit of time, they weren't difficult to make.
I used a roll of brown wrapping paper I had on hand, and cut it in half the length of the paper.
Then I guestimated (my typical!) for the actual size I wanted them to be.
I adhered some lace to both edges to dress them up a bit.
Then I bought a white paint marker and wrote "Give thanks" on the one end.
The original source suggested writing "I am thankful for" and then adding lines below that for each person to write their own list. 
What a cute idea!

For the napkin holders, I used some burlap & twine I had on hand
and wrapped it around some basic white napkins,
which I also had on hand.
It's all about using what you got, right?

I used some reclaimed barn wood to display my table setting.
I am in love with old farmhouse tables, but since I won't be needing another dining room table anytime soon, I'll just be content with touches of old wood
in my decor!
I found the branches when Hadassah & I were on a run one morning,
and thought they would be the perfect touch 
with my upcyled vintage jars.
I love the look of tapers, so those completed a simple, yet rustic tablescape.

Today, I get to enjoy round 2 of Thanksgiving,
this time with my family!
I hope your celebration was a beautiful one,
and another reminder of all the gifts we've been given.
Happy weekend, friends!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Week 2: Wine Cork Place Cards

Am I the only one out there who is getting excited about Thanksgiving?? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am hosting both families here this year, and I don't usually get to do that! Or maybe it's because of my personal rule: no listening to Christmas music until Thanksgiving Day. {I did break my rule, but only one time! My conscience didn't allow it and the music I found on youtube really wasn't that great.} Anyway, I digress. I have been contemplating menus, dreaming up decor and washing windows here in preparation for the festivities! I wanted to make some place cards with the stash of wine bottle corks I have, similiar to those I made for another church's Thanksgiving event.

They really are quite simple to make, and give an autumn vibe to your table. First off, I used a knife to slice about a 1/2" deep hole in the top. Then I took my daughter on a stroller ride, and we collected acorns! Just use some hot glue to fasten them on at the base of the cork. I also added a small green leaf for some color. Then you just need to make your name cards, out of any cardstock you have on hand. Or you can be cool and buy them so they look professional :)
:: A close-up of the cork with the acorn and leaf ::

And here you have it: my little "family" of place cards, for my family! Goodness, I'm ready to get this party started!!! And that's not all; be sure to check back next week to see what else is in the works.
Switching gears just a bit, I've been thinking alot about a thankful heart, and what that looks like. Some days, especially those that are full of sunshine and happiness, it's quite simple. But it's much more of a choice on those days when the baby is grouchy, the stack of bills seems overwhelming, and my supper is a far cry from the pictures in a cooking magazine. I had a few of those days recently, and the verse that came to my mind was "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18 What a challenge: giving thanks, no matter what situation I find myself in! And quite honestly, the struggles I face are quite trivial in comparison to the suffering so many experience on a daily basis. Read Katie's story here and I know you will be touched like I was! Enjoy your weekend....and don't forget to give thanks! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanksgiving Week 1: Updated Mantel

As we approach Thanksgiving, I've been inspired by all of my friends who've taken the 31 days of Thankfulness challenge. Their comments on what they are grateful for is a beautiful reminder to live in constant gratitude. So, with that in mind, I decided to post a 4 week series featuring all things Thanksgiving! You in?? Let's get this party started!

My mantle was a source of frustration to me for quite a few weeks! After a few quiet hours on Sunday afternoon, I felt ready to tackle it again...and was much happier with the finished product!
This pear-shaped object is simply a light bulb wrapped in jute!
I used the same technique for an apothecary bottle that I had on hand, for a bit of a rustic vibe.

A friend gave me lots of miniature pumpkins, so I decided to have some fun decorating them. A few I sprayed in an ivory color...
...others were coated in a metallic cappuccino color. I tied lace around the middle of this pumpkin, and lifted it off to reveal this cute pattern!
The whole mantle, completed with a cozy fire! What do you think?
I have been an avid follower of Ann Voskamp for quite some time now, and found the quote I wrote on the chalkboard from her blog.
"Thankfulness is the deep, contented breath of peacefulness".
I need this today;
the reminder to live in thankfulness.
No matter what happens in the nation,
or in my personal life,
I have so much to be grateful for!!
Praying you live in the peace that thankfulness brings...Ruby

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ikea Shopping Trip!

Ikea is one of my favorite places to shop. Not only is there lots of eye candy, but their prices are some of the best you can find! When I was invited to join my sister and two friends in PA for a trip to Ikea and the Cheesecake Factory, I was all in!!! Since we don't have one of these fabulous stores locally, I jump at any chance I get to go! Add to that, a day with my girls: it was a win-win!

:: my beautiful sister & i ::

In all the excitement of getting left, I forgot to bring my camera along, so I decided to take some cell phone pictures of my favorite things to share with you!

There were some industrial-looking galvanized bins, in fun colors, and lots of capped glass bottles for a favorite drink.
They have oodles of flower pots, and these scalloped lace beauties caught my eye! Yup, one of them came home with me :)
This terrarium would be perfect in my living room!
Aren't these free-standing chalkboards adorable? I hope to get one when Hadassah is old enough to enjoy it.
I didn't take any pictures of the room settings, although they're delightful to browse through at leisure. There's so much inspiration there; a kind of Pinterest-overload!
I didn't mention how difficult it is to decide what to bring home, did I?
Here are some pictures of my purchases; I couldn't wait to show you!
I found this sweet little wicker chair, perfect for our little lady and knew I had to get it.
When I brought it home and set it up, I asked her if she liked her chair, and she sweetly replied "Yes!"

It's perfect for reading her favorite books....

....or snuggling with her dolls! It's her own little hang-out spot, and she looks all grown up when she sits there! I have visions of a cute pillow and throw to add to it...

These woven placemats had my name all over them! I have a mild obsession with textures, and these have mad texture, let me tell you!!

Don't they look pretty with my tableware? Now I'm in the mood for a party!

My dining room window was in serious need of some updating in the curtain department, and when I saw these patterned red ones, I thought they were cute!
My sister agreed that they would look great, but I still wasn't convinced I wanted to buy them.
So, into the shopping cart they went, while I tried to picture them in my house.
After walking away without buying them, I decided I really DID want them after all!
Ahh, are my bane.
I purchased them, and hung them up almost as soon as I arrived home!
But I'm still getting used to them.
I'm not 100% sold yet.
What do you think?  
And who wants to join me in my next Ikea trip?!